The 6 Best Online Banks in Canada for 2024

Online Banks

Online banks are digital institutions that do not rely on physical branches. With lower operating costs than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, online banks are able to pass the savings on to us in the form of lower fees and higher interest rates on deposits. But each one is unique, offering different features, benefits, and drawbacks to consider. To help you find the best fit for your digital dollars, we’ve rounded up the best online banks in Canada.

Online Bank
For newcomers and students
Range of products
For self-directed investors
Flexible banking

1. EQ Bank – Best Overall

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EQ Bank is the OG online bank in Canada and is frequently touted as one of the best neobanks for savings accounts. It is the digital subsidiary of Equitable Bank, a Canadian bank specializing in residential and commercial real estate lending services.

EQ has various savings account options with no fees and no minimum balance requirements. It recently launched the EQ Bank Card, which is a reloadable prepaid Mastercard that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. You load it by transferring money from your EQ account, allowing you quick and easy access to your money at any time.

Most card purchases earn 0.5% cash back and you can withdraw money for free from any ATM in Canada. If the ATM provider charges a fee, EQ Bank will reimburse you. You can also use their online banking service or mobile app for most of your daily transaction needs and move money between bank accounts at other institutions.

Their most popular account is the EQ Bank Personal, which is more like a blend of a chequing and savings account. It’s free with no minimum balance requirements and allows for most types of transactions, including Interac e-Transfers, bill payments, mobile cheque deposits, and more. The account receives up to 4% annual interest which is calculated daily and paid out monthly.

EQ Bank is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a way to earn high interest on savings on your nest egg or emergency fund. You can link your EQ account directly to your other bank accounts to easily transfer money between them. International money transfers are also inexpensive through Wise, which is accessible from your online banking dashboard.

Their other account options include tax-free savings accounts (TFSA), first home savings accounts (FHSA) and retirement savings accounts (RSP), as well as guaranteed investment certificates and US dollar accounts. The main drawback of EQ bank accounts, however, is they only offer term investments (FHSA GIC, RSP GIC, etc).

2. Simplii Financial – Best for Newcomers and Students

Simplii Financial is an online bank owned by CIBC, one of Canada’s Big Six banks. It features no monthly or annual account fees, various account types to choose from, and unlimited transactions including e-Transfers. Since they are part of CIBC, you’ll be able to use CIBC ATMs without paying any fees.

Simplii Financial offers a No Fee Chequing Account, High-Interest Savings Account, RRSP or Tax-Free Savings Account, USD Savings Account, and special banking offers for newcomers, students, and international students. Simplii also offers RSPs, mutual funds, GICs and TFSAs.

The chequing account comes with a Debit-Mastercard that you can use to shop online, in-store, and abroad. You can also set up direct deposits and overdraft protection. The interest rates for savings accounts aren’t as high as some of the other online banks though.

However, they offer frequent sign-up bonuses such as high-interest periods or cash bonuses. Plus, unlike many other accounts, you don’t have to lock your money away for an extended period of time to reap the benefits of your interest. The annual interest rate for savings accounts is tiered based on your balance and starts at 0.40%, calculated daily and paid out monthly.

Simplii Financial also offers eligible Canadians a personal line of credit and a Cash Back Visa Card offering up to 4% on eligible purchases. If you are looking to buy a home, Simplii also offers competitive mortgages. It offers a more than decent range of services, quite comparable to a traditional bank.

Simplii website showing a list of products and services

3. Neo Financial – Best Fintech

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Neo Financial is not technically a bank, but it offers some of the same products and services. It offers a hassle-free, convenient online banking platform and app that integrates seamlessly with their various offerings. Neo Money is an account that brings together the best features of a savings and chequing account. There are no monthly fees and offers unlimited free transactions with no minimum balance required.

Fund your account via Interac e-Transfer, direct deposit (such as paycheques), or by linking other bank accounts. You’ll receive a 1% annual interest on your balance, which is calculated daily and paid out monthly. Want more interest on your savings? Neo recently launched a new high-interest savings account that earns 3.4% interest.

The Neo Money account comes with the Neo Money Card, a free prepaid Mastercard linked to your account that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted – online, in person, and abroad. Eligible card purchases earn an average of 5% cash back from Neo partners, with up to 15% cash back for each first purchase made at a partner merchant.

Neo also offers two credit card options depending on your credit score: a traditional Mastercard and a Secured Mastercard. It’s one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada. There is no credit check required for the secured credit card, allowing Canadians with any credit score to access their services.

4. Tangerine – Best Range of Products

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Tangerine is probably one of Canada’s best-known online banks, serving over 2 million clients across the country. They are owned by Scotiabank, a highly reputable Canadian bank, so you can trust their financial services.

Tangerine offers both chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts. Your chequing account comes with a free Visa Debit Card that you can use anywhere Interac and Visa are accepted, giving you easy access to your funds for transactions in-store, online, and abroad. Plus, you get free access to Scotiabank ATMs in Canada as well as those in Scotiabank’s Global ATM Alliance.

Their no-fee daily chequing account is the most popular, which offers free daily banking transactions and they often offer aggressive promotional interest rates on the money in your account. The standard interest depends on how much money is in your account, but they run promotions frequently.

Tangerine also offers no fee credit cards, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and a wide range of investment options, including non registered accounts. However, at the time of writing, they still do not offer FHSAs.

5. Wealthsimple – Best for Self-Directed Investors

Wealthsimple logo

Wealthsimple is a popular Canadian all-in-one investment platform that also offers a cash account for your daily banking needs. They have a range of different wealth management products, including a cryptocurrency trading platform, robo-advisor, stock trading platform, and a hybrid chequing/savings account called Wealthsimple Cash – all of which are bundled inside the Wealthsimple app.

There are no monthly account fees or minimum deposit amount to have a Wealthsimple Cash account. The money in your account earns anywhere from 4-5% interest, depending on how much money you have combined across Wealthsimple products.

Plus, you’ll receive a prepaid Mastercard that you can use anywhere Mastercard is accepted. When you make purchases using your Wealthsimple Cash Card, you’ll earn 1% back in cash, crypto or stock – your choice. You can also link your card to your Google or Apple Pay and make purchases that way. It’s incredibly easy to set up an account via the Wealthsimple app.

With a Wealthsimple Cash account, you can instantly send money to people in your contacts list, and they can do the same for you. It basically operates like a money transfer app, similar to Venmo or CashApp, which are available in the United States.

6. Manulife Bank – Most Flexible Banking

Manulife Bank is the online banking arm of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. They offer one of the most flexible online banking packages of any other competitor with their All-In Banking Package.

This package includes an everyday banking account, a savings account with 2.10% interest, travel insurance, and various savings tools. You get free Interac e-Transfers, unlimited debit purchases in Canada and free withdrawals from ATMs in The Exchange Network. There is a monthly fee of $10 for this entire package, but they will waive the fee if your closing balance is at least $100 higher than the previous month (which is a great incentive to save)!

If you’re looking for an online savings account with a high-interest rate and aren’t so concerned about daily transaction needs, then Manulife Bank also offers an Advantage Account. This account gives you 5.75% interest and is free if you keep your balance above $1,000.

For those wanting to bank in USD, they also offer a US Dollar Advantage account. You can open an account with Manulife Bank via their website or mobile app as long as you’re a Canadian citizen. Manulife also offers TFSAs, RSPs, GICs, credit cards with cash back, mortgages and loans, including investment loans which are not available at most other online banks.

Why should you use an online bank?

Because online banks are purpose-built for the digital age. Canada is pushing toward a cashless society, aiming to drop cash payments by 70% by 2030, according to Moneris. Without the need to deposit or withdraw cash, we don’t necessarily need in-person bank branches anymore.

As a society, we are always seeking more convenient and cost-effective ways of doing things, including banking. Driving to your bank branch during their operating hours to pay bills, transfer money or deposit cash is a time-consuming hassle. As the saying goes, “time is money.”

Online banks use modern software that integrates with many other financial management apps and tools. This way, you can easily optimize how you manage your money and track your spending. On top of that, online banks are entirely secure. Deposits are protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which is similar to traditional banks.

One of the downfalls of online banks is that you won’t get the same level of personal service as you would with a traditional bank. Everything is digital, including their customer support.

Heidi Unrau is a senior finance journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she kicked-off her financial career in retail banking as a teller. She quickly progressed to become a Credit Analyst and then Private Lender. This hands-on industry experience uniquely positions her to provide expert insight on loans, credit scores, credit cards, debt, and banking services. She has been featured in publications such as WealthRocket, Scary Mommy, Credello, and Plooto. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to the Freakonomics podcast, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a bowl of ice cream. Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada and her blood type is coffee.